Looking Toward Fall's Golden Light and Relaxed Pace

By Michael Lay | Tuesday, September 3, 2013
Support Corolla's wild ponies at two events this week.

With the passing of Labor Day, the official Outer Banks summer season begins to gradually wind down and a more leisurely pace begins to settle over the beach once again. After several months of rushing about full-throttle, we have a chance to relax and catch our breath. Fall on the Outer Banks is a golden-hued time of spectacular sunsets, warm waters, moderate temperatures, great fishing and wide open beaches that locals anticipate all year. But, unlike in the past, these days we never really shut down. A full schedule of activities and events continues until late in the Fall and, as you'll find below, there is still plenty to see and do, no matter whether you're visiting the Outer Banks for a late-season week-long stay, just in town for a weekend getaway or a local looking for something to do with the family.

Art for Good Works

The Art With Heart: Outer Banks Arts & Crafts Festival show at Hilton Garden Inn in Kitty Hawk offers a combination of art, commerce and good works. The free two-day show runs Wednesday, September 4 and Thursday, September 5 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. each day. A portion of the show's proceeds will go to support two Outer Banks nonprofits, the Network for Endangered Sea Turtles (N.E.S.T.) and Hosea House, a charity providing support and life skills training to young mothers with infant children. Don't miss this chance to view the works of more than 25 Outer Banks artists working in a variety of media including painting, pottery, jewelry, photography, basketry, glasswork, fiber and textile arts, collage, metalwork, handmade soaps and more.

Wild and Fuzzy

There are few animals more entertaining than otters. These little guys definitely know how to have fun! And here on the Outer Banks you can actually see them in the wild - if you happen upon the right time and place. But the odds of seeing otters are a lot better at the North Carolina Aquarium on Roanoke Island's Happy Otter Hour program Tuesday, September 10 from 2 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. You'll learn about otter behavior and biology, design an enrichment toy to be shared with these playful creatures AND enjoy a snack before watching the otters enjoy their own treats and play with the newly designed toys you just created for them. The program will conclude with a glance behind the river otter exhibit. Appropriate for ages 6 and older; children 12 and younger must be accompanied by an adult. Closed-toe shoes and pre-registration are required. Admission is $15/person and $13.50/NC Aquarium Members.

Of course, the Outer Banks' most well-known wild animals may be the much-loved Corolla wild horses, descendants of the original Spanish mustangs shipwrecked here. The Corolla Wild Horse Fund works every day to protect, conserve and manage the herd and to permanently preserve the land upon which they roam. You can help fund this work and express your creativity at the same time at one of the Corolla Wild Horse Fund's fun for all ages Paint a Mustang! events on Thursday, September 5. Bring your imagination! You'll paint your choice of one of three sizes of wild horse cut-outs (ranging from $5 to $35) and take your creation home with you to decorate your own home! Paint, brushes, smocks and wooden horse cutouts will be provided. All the proceeds from this fundraising activity go to the protection of the Corolla wild horses. The early painting session will be held at the Corolla Wild Horse Museum in Corolla from 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. A second session is scheduled for Scarborough Faire in Duck from 2:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.

On Friday, meet a gentled Spanish mustang at the Wild Horse Museum in Corolla from 10:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Corolla Wild Horse Fund staff and trained volunteers will be on hand to relate the history of the wild horses and explain how visitors to the Outer Banks can help save this endangered breed. Petting is encouraged and donations are accepted. The event is free and open to the public. For more information call (252) 453-8002.

First Friday, Football and a Luau

This Friday, September 6 brings us another festive First Friday celebration in downtown Manteo beginning at 6 p.m. Live music at multiple locations, shops and galleries open late and great restaurants to suit a variety of tastes and budgets ensure an evening of family-friendly fun. Test yourself on the Kitty Hawk Kites rock climbing wall. Rub shoulders with historical interpreters. And, as always, the Dare County Arts Council will host an artists' reception and opening for an exhibit of new work.

Dare County's varsity football bragging rights are on the line this Friday when Roanoke Island's Manteo High School squares off against beach rival First Flight High School in Kill Devil Hills for The Marlin Bowl. Kick-off is scheduled for 7:30 p.m.

What if you could attend a Hawaiian-inspired, Polynesian-style luau without ever leaving the Outer Banks? You can! Just purchase a ticket to The Elizabethan Gardens' Friday fundraising Elizabethan Luau event and say, "Aloha" to an evening of dinner, drinks and dancing under the stars on the Great Lawn. Festivities begin at 6 p.m. Pre-registration is required. Tickets for general seating are $65/non-members; $55/members. Reserved seating for tables of 10 is $1,000. Tickets are available online at BrownPaperTickets.com.

Kid Stuff

On the first Saturday of every month from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. Home Depot in Kitty Hawk offers its free Kids Workshop. Designed for children ages 5 to 12, this hands-on class teaches tool safety, do-it-yourself skills and pride of accomplishment as kids build a craft item they can take home at the end of the session. All participants will receive a certificate of achievement, a workshop apron and a commemorative pin. Kids Workshop participants will be accepted on a first come/first served basis.

Green Your Space

On Saturday you can benefit from decades of horticultural experience in The Elizabethan Gardens' hands-on class Techniques and Tips for Plant Propagation at Home. From 12 p.m. to 2 p.m. you'll learn how to propagate a variety of annuals, perennials and shrubs in the comfort of your own backyard. The workshop fee includes admission to The Gardens. Tickets are $25/members and $30/non-members. For more information or to buy tickets, call (252) 473-3234.

Grace Onstage

Here's a special treat for fans and students of dance. On Saturday, September 7 at 7 p.m. the critically acclaimed Richmond Ballet brings a night of classic ballets, significant contemporary dances and new works reflecting modern influences to First Flight High School in Kill Devil Hills. A company of superbly talented dancers from around the world, the Richmond Ballet is hailed by dance critics as "a jewel among U.S. dance companies."

Looking Ahead

Mark your calendars now for the 2013 OBX Pridefest taking place Friday, September 13 through Sunday, September 15 at First Colony Inn in Nags Head. As Northeast North Carolina's only gay pride festival, OBX Pridefest celebrates the history and diversity of the Outer Banks and Northeastern North Carolina. Free and family-friendly daytime activities will be followed by adult-themed nighttime events.

Outer Banks This Week Giveaway

This week you have a chance to win a two person ocean kayak rental from Ocean Atlantic Rentals and a $50 gift certificate to Hurricane Mo's!

For more information about Hurricane Mo's, check them out on Nags Head Guide.

For more information about Ocean Atlantic Rentals, check out their website.

Last Week's Winner

Congratulations to Ronda Heizer!!!

You won a $40 gift certificate to Open Water Grill and a $35 gift certificate to Kinnakeet Clay Works!

Outer Banks This Week Giveaway Winner

For more information about Open Water Grill, check out their website.

For more information about Kinnakeet Clay Works, check out their website.

About the Author Michael Lay
Michael Lay is a local graphic designer, artist, photographer and writer. He lives in picturesque downtown Manteo, NC, and is the manservant of two beautiful and willful feline princesses, Sophie and Sassy. You can contact Michael at mike.lay@oneboat.com.